Museum Makers: I Left it on the Train

Inspired by the museum’s exhibition of railway posters of the twentieth century, Speed to the West: A Nostalgic Journey. we’ve been working on our own posters…

From this they will produce a film on the coming of the railway to Dorchester, connections with Dorset’s literary heritage and the founding of the museum itself in response to the threat posed by the construction of the new railways to Dorset’s archaeological heritage and natural history.

The finished filmed performance by the Museum Makers at Dorset County Museum. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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Museum Makers: A Few Crusted Characters

Just before the summer break the Museum Makers moved forward in time to the early nineteenth century, and looked at horse-drawn transport, as a precursor to our forthcoming work on the railways. We used the concept and structure of Thomas Hardys

A Few Crusted Characters, which tells the story of a group of homeward- bound travellers in a carriers cart who are joined on the journey by a stranger. The interwoven tales that the locals tell to the newcomer make up the scenes in the play.

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Museum Makers: The Vikings are Coming!

Museum Makers: Cast and Crew during the final dress rehearsal for The Vikings are Coming!

Cast and Crew during the final dress rehearsal for The Vikings are Coming!

Cast and Crew during the final dress rehearsal for The Vikings are Coming!

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Museum Makers: Working on Scene 1 of The Vikings are Coming!

SCENE 1. THE LONGHOUSE

A Viking Longhouse somewhere in Scandinavia. It’s the middle of winter, and provisions are running very low. The Chief is struggling to keep his people’s spirits up, and the snow gets ever deeper.

The Frost hardens, and YMIR, the frost giant, enters the Longhouse and freezes all the inhabitants. Even the chief eventually succumbs to his icy touch. Then ODIN and FREYA, accompanied by the young dragon FIREDANCER, enter the Longhouse. FIREDANCER and FREYA chase out YMIR with heat and warmth, and the chief and all his people are thawed by the dragon’s breath.

The chief and his wife thank ODIN and FREYA, and in the true spirit of VIKING hospitality, offer food and shelter. Unfortunately there is very little food, and the only thing to do is to get the chief’s wife to prepare yet another batch of STONE SOUP!

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Sharing Heritage: Museum Makers Group celebrates £6,000 Heritage Lottery Fund Grant

Museum-Makers

The Museum Makers rehearsing for their latest performance ‘The Vikings are Coming!’ at the Dorset County Museum

Dorset County Museum has received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage grant, it was announced today.  The grant will fund an exciting Museum Makers project which will provide educational and inspirational opportunities for adults with learning disabilities as they engage with the collections at the Museum.  

The project will work with local disability groups, carers, specialist artists and performers on a wide range of creative activities inspired by the Museum’s desire to share the stories of Dorset’s heritage with vulnerable adults in the community.  Weekly creative sessions will include activities such as acting, music, craft making and shadow puppetry which will result in the group producing and performing a play and a film for friends, family and the wider community to enjoy, all inspired by the Museum’s collections.

The initial focus for the group will be recently acquired archaeology collections including the Viking skeletons discovered on the South Dorset Ridgeway, which the Museum Makers will use to explore the Viking connection with Dorset, performing a play based on their discoveries.

The latter half of the project will see the group explore themes relating to the Museum’s current exhibition of railway posters of the twentieth century, Speed to the West:  a Nostalgic Journey.  From this they will produce a film on the coming of the railway to Dorchester, connections with Dorset’s literary heritage and the founding of the Museum itself in response to the threat posed by the construction of the new railways to Dorset’s archaeological heritage and natural history.

Commenting on the award, Andy Worth, Museum Makers Volunteer, said “We’re thrilled to have been awarded this grant and we can’t wait to get started on the project. The Museum Makers group will feel a stronger sense of belonging to their community through engaging with Dorset’s past, and at the same time they will be developing their own self-confidence through learning new skills, performing and film-making.  We’re also delighted by the support we’ve had from Dorset County Museum, and can’t emphasise enough how crucial this interim grant is to the Museum Makers. ”  

Dr Peter Down, Chairman of Dorset County Museum added “This will be a really fantastic project, and staff and volunteers here at the Museum will give our whole hearted support to the Museum Makers in any way that we can.”

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Museum Makers: The Vikings are Coming!

With funding from Heritage Lottery Fund, the Museum Makers have been using the museum’s archaeology collection and exploring the Ancient Dorset Gallery to find out about the Viking connection with Dorset for the first part of their project.

Our play this year is inspired by the discovery of a large number of decapitated skeletons in a mass grave on the Ridgeway during the construction of the new Dorchester to Weymouth Road.

Archaeologists excavate mass grave of executed Vikings

Archaeologists excavate mass grave of executed Vikings

Who were these strangers that came to such a miserable end on a Dorset Hilltop? Why did they leave the safety of the own country to travel across the North Sea?

The Vikings had a vibrant and distinctive culture, and were renowned for their hospitality and storytelling. We have explored the history of the Vikings, and borrowed some of the heroes and gods of Norse mythology to populate our play. We invite you to come back in time, and to join us on a journey of discovery across the sea in a Longship!

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